Azerbaijani - UNICEF relations

History of UNICEF: On December 11, 1946, the Genaral Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Declaration on the establishment of UNICEF. The primary responsibility of UNICEF is to provide emergency help and supplies to children suffering from war without any racial, religious, national, position and political discrimination in cases of necessity. In 1953, the UN General Assembly turned UNICEF into a permanent organization. In 1965, UNICEF was awarded Nobel Prize.

UNICEF differs from other UN organizations with its originality. UNICEF does not receive money from the UN; it forms its own budget through donations.

Bilateral relations: On July 21, 1992, the Republic of Azerbaijan ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Children. In 1993, Azerbaijan joined the World Declaration, "On the life, protection and development of children" adopted on September 30, 1990. UNICEF began its activity in Azerbaijan in October of 1993.

Expansion of relations with UNICEF was a part of the policy of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev connected with the children. On September 27, 1994, signature of the UN Declaration on the life, protection and development of children by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev, became an impetus for the rapid development of relations with this organization. Specifically, since 1994, UNICEF began more productive cooperation with Azerbaijan.

UNICEF provided humanitarian assistance to Azerbaijan in the amount of about $9.5 million in 1994-1996, $2.2 million in 1997, $2 million per year in 1998 and 1999.

On July 23, 1997, there was an opening ceremony of "Azerbaijan International Youth Postal Service" and "Children Help Line," which were created on the initiative of the representation of UNICEF in Azerbaijan. The aim of the implementation of this initiative is to help the young people and children with disabilities, and those who face difficulties. President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev made a speech at the ceremony and appreciated the work of UNICEF in Azerbaijan.

On May 19, 1998, the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on "Children`s Rights" was adopted. On May 22, 1999, the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on "Social maintenance of orphans and children deprived the care of parents".

On September 6-8, 2000, at the UN Millennium Summit in New York, President Heydar Aliyev signed the Optional Protocols, of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, on "Non- involvement of children in armed conflicts" and "Child trafficking, child prostitution and child pornography".

On October 20, 2000, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev received the regional representative of the UN Children`s Fund on the Central and Eastern Europe, CIS and Baltic countries, Philip O`Brien. During the meeting President Heydar Aliyev said: "We want the cooperation of UNICEF with Azerbaijan to be more extensive. Because there is a great need in this. This is particularly relevant to refugee and displaced children, and children living in tents". In May 2002, the Azerbaijani delegation participated the special session of the UN General Assembly dedicated to children.

On May 13, 2003, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev signed the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan "On ratification of the main contract on cooperation between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and United Nations Children`s Fund" (UNICEF).

Within the framework of cooperation signed between the government of Azerbaijan and UNICEF, the projects like "Early childhood development and the initiative of a better parent", "Active learning and school", "Education for development and Convention on the Rights of Child", "Improvement of information and analysis in education", "Health and development of the youth", "Creation of parent-teacher Associations, "Education on the landmine threat" were implemented into life in 2000-2004. In the past 5 years $300 million per year and $1.5 billion overall were spent on activities conducted within the frame of cooperation.

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, elected on October 15, 2003, attaches special attention to relations with UNICEF as a continuation of the policy of Heydar Aliyev.

In 2004 Azerbaijan joined Convention 182 of the International Labour Organization "On elimination of the worst forms of child Labour" and titled Recommendation 190 and the Hague Convention on International Adoption.

In March 2006, President Ilham Aliyev approved the state program for giving children from orphanages to the families and alternative care. Within the frame of the program which covers the period of 2006-2015, it is planned to transform 45 orphanages in the nearest 3-5 years.

On April 17, 2006, "The state program on the development of the creative potentials of the gifted children" was adopted (2006-2010).

On March 11-15, 2007, Director of UNICEF Regional Office for Central and Eastern Europe, CIS and Baltic countries, Maria Kalivis paid a visit to Azerbaijan. The main purpose of the visit was to get acquainted with the work done by UNICEF and the Government, with the problems facing children and their solution as well as to contribute to the creation of "suitable world for children" in the country.

On June 25, 2007, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev met the Executive Director of UNICEF, Ann Veneman in Istanbul. President of Azerbaijan spoke about the economic reforms in the country and invited Ann Veneman to visit Azerbaijan.

On March 12, 2007, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev issued a decree approving the Plan of Action for the country`s program between UNICEF and the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2005-2009.

Issues of immunization, care for the health of pregnant women, maternal and infant nutrition, food production enriched with micronutrients, creation of legislative base necessary for the health sector and others were included into the main areas of the activity of UNICEF in Azerbaijan in 2005-2008.

On August 18, 2008, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev received the representative of UNICEF in Azerbaijan Mrs. Hanaa Singer in connection with the expiration of her mission in the country. Mrs. Hanaa Singer emphasized the successful development of cooperation between UNICEF and Azerbaijan. The President expressed his satisfaction with the constantly developing relations between Azerbaijan and UNICEF.

On September 24, 2008, for the first time in the history of Azerbaijan, international organizations, including UNICEF, reported that over several recent years, child mortality in Azerbaijan has decreased more than twice.

On December 22, 2008, by a special decree of President Ilham Aliyev 2009 was declared the year of Children in Azerbaijan.

On October 22, 20098, a national conference "On Protection of Children in Azerbaijan", dedicated to the Year of Children in Azerbaijan, and the 20th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children was held in Azerbaijan. First Lady of Azerbaijan President of Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and ISESCO, Mehriban Aliyeva made a speech at the conference and said:"Children are the future of Azerbaijan, let us not be indifferent to their problems."

First Lady of Azerbaijan, Mehriban Aliyeva is the chief protector of the Azerbaijani children in the world. Care and attention to the Azerbaijani children, who are the future of the country, have been the main priority of Heydar Aliyev Foundation within the 5 years of its activity. It is not accidental that after the establishment of the Foundation, the most ambitious event was associated with children. In September, 2004, at exhibition hall named after Sattar Bahlulzade, The Foundation organized the exhibition "I love Azerbaijan" for the gifted children, brought up about 30 orphanages and boarding schools.

The repair and reconstruction works done within the "Program of the development of orphanages and boarding schools" have caused a great resonance in society. 29 children`s institutions were thoroughly repaired and additional buildings were built in the republic. Implementation of projects of the Foundation, "The highest concern for children diabetics", "For life without thalassemia", "Ensuring blind and visually impaired people to access information and communication technologies", Charity events, surgeries, vaccination campaigns became an example of Charity and Mercy. On the initiative of Mehriban Aliyeva and with the support of Heydar Aliyev Foundation, over hundreds of sick children have had cardiac surgeries.

On October 22, 2009, The Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and ISESCO Mehriban Aliyeva was awarded a special prize of UNICEF for the noble work in the field of protection of children in Azerbaijan.

On November 21, 2009, the Parliament held special session connected with the 20th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children.

Today, the most advanced base of legislation on the rights of children has been formed in Azerbaijan. Hitherto, 10 legislative projects on this issue and in general, 72 laws and 11 articles on children`s rights and similar issues have been passed in the Parliament. The Parliament also ratified the international documents on child rights. At the same time, in March of 2009, during the referendum held on the initiative of the parliament significant amendments were made to the Constitution of Azerbaijan, on children`s rights.